Definition of rail

The sides of a table's frame upon which the elastic cushions are mounted. May also be used interchangeably with cushion.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

In eight-ball and related games, describes the situation in which neither player has yet claimed a suit (group) of balls. Often shortened to simply open: "Is it still an open table?" "Yes, it's open."
A rule in blackball whereby after an opponent has faulted and thus yielded two shots, if the incoming shooter pots a ball on the first shot, (s)he is still allowed to miss in a later shot and take a second shot in-hand (from the "D" or from baulk, or if the opponent potted the cue ball, from anywhere)—even on the black, in most variants. Also called the "two visits" rule; i.e., the two penalty shots are considered independent visits to the table, and the limiting variants discussed at two shots below cannot logically apply.
This is to intentionally foul by slightly moving the ball, or playing another type of illegally defensive shot in a game where the ball is just turned over to the other player. Like in one pocket, you still take the foul, but can leave the other player with a challenging shot.
A form of Carom billiards for the masters of the game. Played the same way with two cue balls and a single object ball. Except, in between hitting the opponent's cue ball and the object ball your cue ball must bounce off of three rails (this game is played with an unpocketed specially sized table).
When the object ball lies behind another ball which makes it impossible to be struck by the cue with a direct hit.
A gentle tap of the cue ball with the intention of getting it as tight as possible behind another ball, in the hope of a snooker. It is most common in the game of snooker, and is illegal in many pool games, in which on every shot a ball must either be pocketed, or some ball must contact a cushion after the cue ball has contacted an object ball.
When two or more object balls are frozen or nearly frozen, such that cue-ball contact with one object ball, without the necessity of great accuracy, will almost certainly pocket an intended object ball in the cluster. The most common form of dead arrangements are the dead combination or dead combo (a combination shot in which contact with the first object ball will pocket another one), and the dead kiss, in which contact with the first object ball will pocket it off of another one. See also wired.
This is a shot in snooker where the cue ball follows a struck object into the pocket.
Alternate name for the cue ball.
In carom billiards games, a term for the opponent's cue ball, which for the shooting player is another object ball along with the red.
The pocket in snooker that is closest to the green spot.
Cueing and timing the balls well; in good form, where pocketing (potting), safety and clarity of thinking seem to come easily.
Any shot in which the cue ball or an object ball has to squeeze by (just miss with almost no margin for error) another ball or balls in order to reach its intended target.
Any shot that intentionally accounts for the elasticity of the cushions to allow a ball to bank past an otherwise blocking ball. The moving ball will sink in to the cushion very near the blocking ball giving it sufficient space to get past it or kiss off the back side of it.
In snooker, the colour ball that is worth three points, being the second-least valuable colour behind the yellow. It is one of the baulk colours.
The way in which a player holds the butt end of the cue stick.
The wrap of the cuestick where the hand is placed, also known as the "grip area."

1 - This is a shot in snooker where the cue ball follows a struck object into the pocket.

2- This is the male end of the joint located at the base of the shaft. This threaded piece, usually made of metal, connects the shaft with the forearm. The length, width, pitch and depth of threading of the pins vary from joint to joint, but most offer you a flat-faced wood-to-wood connection with the collar. This type of connection will deliver a softer hit. For a harder hit, some pins have a protruding tip without threads that directs the shaft concentrically with a pin that is buried in the collar at the joint. If you want to keep the pin of your shaft safe when your cue is dismantled, it is easy and important to use a joint protector that simply screws over your pin.

Side spin on the cue ball that causes it to roll off a cushion (contacted at an angle) with rather than against the ball's natural momentum and direction of travel. If angling into a rail that is on the right, then running english would be left english, and vice versa. The angle of deflection will be wider than if no english were applied to the cue ball. But more importantly, because the ball is rolling instead of sliding against the rail, the angle will be more consistent. For this reason, running English is routinely used. Also called running side in British terminology. Contrast reverse english.
The surface of the table used for play (often made with slate).
This is a toned down masse shot. The cue is elevated a little and will curve a little in the direction the spin is applied. This is used to sneak around difficult shots.
Same as side rail.
An imaginary line running horizontally across a billiards table from the second diamond (from the foot end of the table) on one long rail to the corresponding second diamond on the other long rail. The foot string intersects the long string at the foot spot. It is rarely drawn on the table.
A player who was not shooting well during a match but suddenly turns it around and starts playing better and more accurately. Also known as "Finding a stroke" or "Found their stroke".
0-2 Barbecue is a slang billiard term that refers to a single player loosing the first 2 matches in a double elimination tournament. This double loss results in that player being knocked out of the tournament without winning even one game.
A joint type in which the butt and shaft screw together in a tight lock, resulting in a better shot with more hitting power.